Summary: One day as Jesus was teaching in the temple, his enemies questioned his authority. He gave such good answers, no one dared to ask him any more questions. This is an in-depth look at Christ’s answers and their modern applications.
Good Answers to Bad Questions
Luke 19:45-48, 20:1-8, 20:20-26
By Dr. David O. Dykes
We are approaching a section in Luke when the enemies of Jesus are going to ask Him three strange questions. These questions were intended to force Jesus to incriminate Himself. They are bad questions, but Jesus gives good answers.
Sometimes questions can be absurd, even stupid. There’s a collection of funny questions lawyers have actually asked people under oath. I need to preface this by saying some of my best friends are lawyers, and I’m certain they would never ask these kinds of questions. Here are actual questions taken from court records:
1. “Now, doctor isn’t it true that when a person dies in their sleep they don’t know about it until the next morning?”
2. “The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?”
3. “Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?”
4. “Were you present when your picture was taken?”
5. “How far apart were the vehicles when they collided?”
Sometimes it’s a follow-up question that’s funny:
Question: “Can you describe the individual?”
Answer: “He was about medium height and had a beard.”
Question: “Was this a male or a female?”
Sometimes it’s the answer that’s funny, not the question:
Question: “All your answers must be oral. Where did you go to school?”
Question: “You were shot in the fracas?”
Answer: “No, I was shot between the fracas and the navel.”
Today we are going to examine two of the bad questions asked by the enemies of Jesus. He gives such good answers that by the 40th verse of Chapter 20 we read, “no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
Note the context. Jesus is in Jerusalem, and in only a few days He will be nailed to the cross. These events take place during the last week of His earthly life. We’re going to consider three separate sections of scriptures today and we’ll examine each text as we introduce the topic. Before the questions start, Jesus has business in His house, described in Luke 19:45-48:
Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer; but have made it a den of robbers.’” Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.”
I. THE GROWING ANIMOSITY
After Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and wept over the city, He entered the temple area. Instead of praying, He took a whip and started driving out the dishonest merchants who had set up shop there. Can you picture Jesus walking through the tables of the religious money changers and driving them out? Jesus wasn’t some 98-pound weakling who was afraid of His own shadow. He was strong enough to storm through that area of the temple courts like a Texas Tornado. It’s obvious why the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus!
We know from Matthew and Mark the problem that infuriated Jesus was not the “business” of changing money or selling animals for sacrifice. Those were necessary components of the system. Jesus objected because the Chief priests were charging exorbitant exchange rates. The priests were the only ones who could approve the animals and the coins, so they required these be exchanged for their “approved” animals and coins–for a hefty fee, of course. See the scam? They had a corner on the market, so they could charge what they wanted. That’s why the concession stand at a movie theater charges you $6 for popcorn and a coke. They don’t allow you to bring you own, so they can charge what they want!
Some folks have used this passage to justify their belief you should never sell anything in a church, no books, Bibles, or tapes. Remember, Jesus didn’t say, “you have made this place ‘a house of selling.’” He said, “you have made it a den of robbers!” It was the dishonest extortion that caused Him to clean house. Although this happened 2,000 years ago, there is a 21st century lesson we can learn.
21st century lesson: Jesus has a right to clean out and clean up His temple.
When Jesus said, “My house shall be a house of prayer,” He was speaking with a sense of ownership. It was His house. If you decide to dump garbage in the middle of your living room, I don’t have any right to tell you to stop. However, if you come over to my house and start dumping garbage on the floor, I would tell you to stop. Actually, Cindy would ask you first! The reason Jesus cleared out the temple was because the Old Testament temple was the House of God–and Jesus is God. Where is the House of God today? Where do we find God’s temple on earth now? It’s not this building or any building. It’s this building (pointing to body). The Bible says in I Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”